Review by Alan Purssey

In the early 1930s London General Country Services Ltd. was formed to run the country area services north and south of the capital. These services were run on behalf of the London General by the National Omnibus Company in the north and East Surrey in the south.

In 1933 the L.G.O.C  placed an order for the L.G.C.S. consisting of 25 new buses, two single deck three axle Renown’s, the remaining 23 being as the similarly designed three axle central area ‘Bluebirds’ (so nicknamed for the attractive blue interior decoration). These short wheelbase Regents were fitted with a 48-seat bodies and standard country area interiors.

These buses initially entered service at Herford, Reigate and Ware garages. They were painted in red livery with cream windows surrounds and carried the new London General Country fleetname consisting of a Gold fleetname with red edges on a pale grey background. This livery was soon to change with the formation of the L.P.T.B. In 1933 when the livery was once again changed to the two tone green with black lining and silver roofs which was to become standard livery for country area buses in the fleet. This pale green did not weather very well and after many calls from the works department, was to change around the beginning of 1939 to Lincoln green with off white window surrounds, but still retaining the silver roof, this was over painted with brown during the war. The colour illustration included with the kit shows the simplified livery with less lining to aid the lesser skilled modeller in painting. They were all withdrawn from service in the early 1950s, thou were to see further service as driver training vehicles with a few relegated to the special events fleet.

This model by the MBC depicts a later pre-war/early post–war version with the narrow gutter line with a modesty boarded offside staircase window. It also has the split rear lower widow which was added in the late 1940s. Like most buses of the early 1930s it had two rear bumpers fitted - these were later removed and replaced with beading. There are 14 parts to the kit and all that is needed is some wire for the grab handles and rear view mirrors to complete this 1930s period model.

This model has some newly designed features; the upper deck has a pip which fits into the notch in the staircase screen just behind the rearmost double seat. The upper body has locating guides which fit neatly into the channels of the lower body ensuring a tight fit. The two body halves are then secured using the smaller of the two screws through the hole in the drivers cab roof. A piece of plastic below the front window line is built in to take the screw, thus care is needed when cutting the glazing for the front upper window for a snug fit.  The lower body half is secured by a larger screw to the chassis unit in the same fashion as the single deck kits in the range.

On one of my models the upper deck rear was bowed out slightly, by immersing in warm water for a few minutes allowed me to gently tease it back in to shape. This can happen sometimes in the manufacturing process if the model is removed from the mould before curing.

It is essential to ensure after painting that the channels are clear of any paint to prevent the marrying up of the two half’s. MBC have used the prototype design to their advantage by using the mid height band to create a seamless appearance, not normally found on other resin double deck models.

This is the first time this prototype has been modelled and as such was sold out before it was publicised. If there is sufficient interest MBC may produce more.

Two sets of transfers to complete the model are available - route 405 West Croydon, and route 406 Epsom Town at £2.95 per set from the MBC. Period transfers for the 1930s and 1940s are available from the Fox range. Both this model and the STL 6/1 Front entrance model are a must for the more mature collector who can remember them in service.

Alan Purssey